I’m told that an iPhone 5 is headed my way Friday. At least, that’s what the Verizon rep relayed, not what the Verizon website read. Were I to believe the latter – and it was convincing during some frantic moments over the weekend – there was no record of my order. Apparently, that 4 a.m. tap on the shoulder by my daughter never happened (although I wish moving the cat off my iPad never did have to happen).

Anyway, it still remains a mystery why I ever had to face this confusion. This isn’t Verizon’s first rodeo. Two previous iPhone launches should have delivered a better method of informing customers of their purchase statuses. As it stands now (four days later), the website continues to read that “We do not have a record of Order Number ….” I now know that it will remain that way until it’s actually processed at some point this week. This runs quite contrary to the Apple buying experience. A colleague who purchased an iPhone around the same time can follow each stage of the process as updated.

On the one hand, there’s a website issue. Verizon should have a better tool for updating status. The panic was set off, after all, by the link that Verizon forwarded in a confirmation email.

But there’s a broader communications issue here, too. After coming across the message on Saturday, I tried to reach Verizon by phone, but was thwarted by wait times, and an email response wasn’t received for more than 48 hours. This situation could have been remedied with some clear language on the website. Or an explanation in my confirmation email. One of the fundamental communications tenets is to control the message, yet Verizon has ceded this issue to message board threads. Hardly a strategy for creating and fostering trust among customers.

Maybe I’m just a newbie to Verizon and should have known. But isn’t this a tremendous time to grab market share, to show just why one should switch to or remain with Verizon? A new customer was nearly lost, and surely I wasn’t the only one. It was quite revealing, after all, when the service rep responded to my first question with: “I’ve taken quite a few of these calls today.”

It shouldn’t be that difficult to please customers after the ordering process. They’re willing to shell out money for your product. All they ask are straightforward answers to where (is it being sent) and when (it will be received). Instead, I’ll need to wait until Friday to clear up the uncertainty that a straightforward, proactive communications program would have addressed.